Guardianship orders in Scotland on the rise

24th October 2018

A report published by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland shows that the use of guardianship orders, used to safeguard those who lack the capacity to make their own decisions, continues to rise.

The majority of guardians are private individuals, usually a relative, carer or friend. Local authorities have a duty to make an application for welfare guardianship where it is needed and where no-one else is applying. Of the total guardianships in Scotland, the majority are for people who either have learning disability (45%) or dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease (41%).

Mike Diamond, Executive Director (Social Work) of the Mental Welfare Commission, said:

The continued steep rise in guardianship applications is concerning. Most relatives find guardianship helpful, but it is a complex legal process and takes up a considerable amount of time for care professionals, particularly mental health officers. Sometimes it is required to allow people to access Self-Directed Support, which gives greater control over their own care to people who receive services.

We believe the law needs to be modernised and streamlined to ensure care can be provided when it is needed, and to better protect the rights of people with dementia and learning disabilities. We welcome the commitment of the Scottish Government to reforming the Adults with Incapacity Act, and look forward to working with them on this in the coming year.

 

Read the full report

 

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